National Volunteer Week (NVW) is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteers. From Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd May 2021, NVW will celebrate the significant contribution of Australia’s almost six million volunteers. Each year these volunteers dedicate over 600 million hours to help others.
The theme for NVW 2021 is Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine.
Which acknowledges that it is time to:
RECOGNISE, celebrate and thank volunteers for the vital role they play in our lives. Never has this been more evident than after a year where Australia has dealt with drought, devastating bushfires, floods and then a global pandemic. Amidst the pandemic, while many of us stayed home, volunteers continued to deliver essential services, organise food packages and offer care, comfort and more to support the well-being of Australians. Volunteers make our communities stronger, especially during times of need, crisis or isolation.
RECONNECT to what is important by giving our time to help others and ourselves. In a year when many of us have experienced increased loneliness or isolation, mental health or financial stress, volunteering can help. Evidence shows that volunteering connects us to others in our local communities, to better mental well-being or to potential pathways to employment. When we help others in our community or give our time to a cause we value, we also give back to ourselves. Explore volunteer opportunities by visiting www.GoVolunteer.com.au.
REIMAGINE how we better support volunteers and communities they help. Since 2014, Australia has seen a 20 per cent decline in the number of hours volunteers give. During COVID-19, two-thirds of volunteers stopped working and a recent study highlights that social purpose organisations continue to lose one in four volunteers due to illness or caring responsibilities. In the current changing environment, where Australians are time-poor and experiencing higher degrees of uncertainty and stress, we need to reimagine how we do things.
We need to collaborate more and adapt our volunteering practices and programs so we can better support and engage volunteers to continue the necessary work that they do. To all the wonderful volunteers and in particular to the Meals on Wheels Volunteers across the North Shoalhaven network, and around the country THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO.